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Facts for Prelims (FFP)

Source: TH


Context: The archaeological site of Pattanam, on the southwestern coast in Kerala’s Ernakulam district, is believed to be part of the ancient port city of the Muziris.

AboutAncient harbour and an urban centre
LocationMalabar Coast. The exact location of Muziris is disputed. Excavations suggest somewhere near Pattanam, Kerala.

EvidencePeriplus of the Erythraean Sea, Sangam literature, Pliny the Elder [in his Natural History, hailed Muziris as “the first emporium of India]
ImportanceKey to the interactions (trade and commerce) between South India and Persia, the Middle East, North Africa, and the (Greek and Roman) Mediterranean region
Commodities exportedSpices, semi-precious stones, pearls, diamonds, sapphires, ivory, Chinese silk, etc
Commodities importedGold coins, multicoloured textiles, sulphide of antimony, copper, tin, lead, coral, raw glass, wine, etc.
DeclineRoman trade declined from the 5th century AD, the port attracted the Persian, Chinese and Arab traders until the devastating floods of Periyar in 1341.
Recent findingsDNA analysis suggests that the site was first occupied by the indigenous and ‘Megalithic’ (Iron Age) people. A continuous inflow of traders exemplified multicultural mixing in ancient South India.